Wednesday, July 17, 2013

on the town

This is not the first year we've had the Theatreland tour, but I have to say it was probably the best so far. I love Richard III, but he sometimes takes a while to warm up. And this lady was great until she kept talking about Johnny Depp and started having hot flashes and eventually quit on us. This year we had Simon, the all knowing, ever-energetic, Cats quoting Simon. Simon is the sort of person who, if you ask how many seats are in the Drury Lane Theatre, will quote you the amount exactly. If you want to know what year something was built - any structure, any pub, any window frame - he'll know. If he senses you are into ghosts (what? me?) he'll sprinkle a few ghost stories in. And he knows every doorman and costumer in town, so we found ourselves on top of the Royal Opera and in the ballroom of the Savoy hotel, where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip danced for the first time and where commoners rarely get to go. Devin and Nate couldn't pass the chance to take a turn on the floor. It was romantic! For them.

A lot of the sights we saw were not new for me, although I love hearing about them. So I just took a few shots of things I haven't seen. For example:

This ram-shaped door handle at the hotel.

Cleopatra's Needle - a thousand years older than Cleopatra

Covent Garden from above

This doorman, who was comfortably knowledgeable about Jews and Jewish weddings

At the end of the tour (at three plus hours) everyone was exhausted from jet lag but also strangely fascinated with Simon and his knowledge of basically everything. We have begun a collection plate to hire him again. Apparently he does a private ghost walk as well. These students sure love ghosts! Oh, these kids today and their ghosts. Good thing I'm so mature. Good thing I only care about politics and finance (and GHOOOOOOOOOOSTS!)

We had a delightful dinner in Regent's Park tonight; everyone provided their own picnic bag. This has become kind of a tradition for us. We sit by the mermaid statue and have a dinner picnic. Some years we've played Silent Football, but this year everyone just told funny and awkward stories and ate their Kit Kats. At one point we thought we were hearing a lady getting strangled in the bushes, but it was just some pigeons. That was a relief!

We saw Pride and Prejudice tonight at the Open Air Theatre. The weather was perfect. Completely cloudless sky with a nice, cooling wind blowing through the trees. The show was likable; charming cast, thoughtful staging, and a great pacing and energy to it. I'm sure it satisfied every Austenite in the crowd, though I wanted it to be a little fresher and a little more inventive. It was exactly what I thought it would be, but not what I had hoped. I had a nice time, but I'm still waiting for someone to bring P&P to the stage in a way that really reinvents the story and makes us see it through new eyes. Puppets? Dragons? Roller skates? Get crackin',  Melissa Leilani Larson!

We had an extra ticket, which I sold to a flight attendant from Canada. She was very friendly, but she took about 500 pictures during the show. If she flips through her pictures she'll be able to watch the whole thing again and again! She also came back from intermission with four drinks, and proceeded to down them all during the second half. Bottoms up, Mr. Darcy!